Spencer Gulf League Round 1: South smash West

FOOTBALL: South's Matt Downey, who was among his side's best players, competes with West's Tom Hore in the opening bounce of the SGL season. PHOTO: Judith Barnett.
FOOTBALL: South's Matt Downey, who was among his side's best players, competes with West's Tom Hore in the opening bounce of the SGL season. PHOTO: Judith Barnett.

In a poor showing, West Augusta were blitzed by back-to-back reigning premiers South Augusta in the Spencer Gulf Football League season opener.

In sweltering conditions, South dominated after a close first quarter, kicking 20 goals to West’s two.

There were times where South were able to do as they pleased, with their transitioning from defence to attack done with little resistance.

West had no new recruits on show, but brought in three under 18 debutants in Jack Fraser, Toby Blinman and Dan Press.

Meanwhile, South named Kriston Thompson against his old club alongside Dylan Dodd, with both of the players enjoying a good outing.

On paper it looked as though South would control the game from the beginning, but West were fast out of the blocks and challenged the Bulldogs, trailing by just two points at quarter time.

Tyron Warren was proving a real threat away from his usual ruck position and up forward he was proving a real handful for Craig Shirley.

Josh Milera also had a stunning first half, finding plenty of the ball and delivering it efficiently inside 50.

Things began to turn sour for West in the second quarter, as South really took control and kicked six goals to one.

Vinny Urbancic presented well and added two goals to his name, as did Lionel Brown, who injected some excitement into the game as he so often does.

Sam Maule was solid down back, picking off many of West’s entries into attack, while Matt Downey was starting to get on top of the ruck combination of Fraser Sinkinson, Jay Dalla Santa and Tom Hore.

After trailing by 34 points at half time, things went from bad to worse for West when they were unable to kick a goal in the third quarter and South pulled away to a 78-point lead.

South’s class began to show in the heat, as they constantly opened West up to create multiple scoring opportunities.

Live wires Clayton Milera and Aziel Stuart were the leaders in the midfield and were too good for the majority of their opposition.

This trend continued into the last quarter and the icing was put on a brilliant Bulldog cake when Lionel Brown kicked a miraculous goal to take his tally to seven for the game.

A volley kick that dribbled through summed up the day for West, as their defence was under siege for most of the game and South were far too superior.

Jack Fraser was impressive on debut, as was another young star Charlie Ryan, so there is something to get excited about for West, but for now they sit on the bottom of the ladder before next week’s clash with Port.

South travel to Port Pirie in Round 2 for a Grand Final rematch against Solomontown, who began their 2018 campaign with a nail-biting 11-point victory over Central Augusta.